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Afghan nationals gather outside Aussie embassy in New Delhi seeking visas

BY , Aug 19, 2021 9:38 AM - REPORT AN ERROR

Afghan nationals gather outside Aussie embassy in New Delhi seeking visas

Afghan nationals gathered in numbers outside the Australian Embassy here in the national capital seeking immigration visas following the recent takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

Australia has recently said it will over a year offer 3,000 places in its humanitarian visa program specifically for those now fleeing Afghanistan.

The country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison however clarified in a recent press conference that "I note that some are talking about figures of 20,000 but can I tell you there are no clear plans about that. Australia is not going into that territory".

"We heard that Australian Embassy is giving 3000 visas to Afghan nationals. When we came here, they gave us a form, which says we have to first send an email to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) which will refer us to the embassy for visas. But UNHCR office doesn't respond," an Afghan national who had turned up at the embassy said.

Rabi Jalalzai, an Afghan national staying in India for two years said: "After Taliban captured our country, we can't go back there. People are trying to come to India as refugees but we are facing so many problems here. The UNHCR office is not helping us with anything. My family has applied for a visa and it has already been two years, but we don't even get a call for the interview."

Jalalzai added that it was impossible to fulfil the conditions for getting an Australian visa as it required a recommendation from UNHCR. "They are not calling us for the interview, then how will they recommend us. We are here for help but they even told us not to stand outside here and called the police," he stated.

Syed Abdullah, another Afghan national who has been staying in India for the past eight years said that he has not yet received any help from UNHCR in these eight years.

"We have security issues. I received a death threat from the Taliban as I worked with an NGO that was aided by European Union (EU) and United States (US). So I came here to get the visa as promised to refugees but we are not getting any clear answer," stated Abdullah.

Meanwhile, another refugee praised Indian hospitality but urged UNHCR to help them. "India has always welcomed us with open arms. I have friends here who are ready to help me. But I would like to request UNHCR to help us in this situation," he said.

Ever since Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday and the takeover by Taliban, Afghan nationals stuck in other countries, including India are facing an uncertain future.

Meanwhile, India has reviewed visa provisions and introduced a new category of electronic visa called "e-Emergency X-Misc Visa" with an aim to fast-track visa applications for entry into India.

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